What did the Claimant argue?
The Claimant set out no fewer than seven grounds for challenging the decision to grant the 2021 variation.
First, they argued that the 2018 permission had lapsed. Works had not properly ‘begun’, given that the works that had been undertaken were unlawful. The 2021 variation was not for retrospective planning permission and a condition was applied to it, which had the effect of permitting the development to commence beyond the time limit set out in the 2018 permission. This would not be permissible if the 2018 permission had expired as a result of not being lawfully implemented.
Secondly, the LPA failed to consider the IP’s inability to implement the 2018 permission. Even if the 2018 permission was still extant, the discrepancies between the plans and the completed works meant that the 2018 permission had not been implemented as the development was not in accordance with the relevant plans.
The third ground argued that the IP had failed to attach certain conditions under the 2018 permission and therefore, the 2021 variation was unlawful.
The Claimant argued, under the fourth ground, that the LPA had incorrectly included a condition that was based on the unlawful development, not that which would have been lawful under the 2018 permission.
The fifth ground of challenge is topical, given recent case law which has been laid down on the subject. It concerned an argument that the LPA had unreasonably identified the amendments proposed under the 2021 variation to be “minor material amendments”.
Under ground six, the Claimant sought to argue that a new consultation should have been carried out ahead of the 2021 variation and, further, that the IP had failed to comply with its statutory duty under section 72 of the Conservation and Heritage (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
The Claimant’s seventh and final ground asserted that the lighting scheme for the development was unclear and, as such, the conditions were unimplementable and ultimately unlawful. The lighting scheme was relevant due to a policy which prevented the erosion of rural darkness.